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The Ritual Bath (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus #1)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  9,683 ratings  ·  463 reviews
Detective Peter Decker of the LAPD is stunned when he gets the report. Someone has shattered the sanctuary of a remote yeshiva community in the California hills with an unimaginable crime. One of the women was brutally raped as she returned from the mikvah, the bathhouse where the cleansing ritual is performed.The crime was called in by Rina Lazarus, and Decker is relieved ...more
Kindle Edition, 388 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published May 1986)
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aPriL does feral sometimes
What to do.....

For me, an atheist, I am offended by the obvious purposeful crippling of being human by the rituals of ANY religion. Since the beautiful widow and mother of two boys Rina Lazarus, love interest of the detective Peter Decker, is an Orthodox Jew, I am grinding my teeth even while I am admiring this interesting beach read of a novel.

This is book one - how they meet, so I knew I had to start here. However, I'm uncertain about continuing. Usually I give a series at least three books re
Mike (the Paladin)
Good book. This is our introduction to the two characters that I know will go on through at least 8 books as I read the 8th book first...

Here we see the introduction of the characters and the story line. Many continuing mystery series have some kind of "hook". Here it's the fact of Judaism, maybe in the tradition Harry Kellerman's Rabbi? (By the way as far as I can find Harry Kellerman is no relation to this author or her husband).

Anyway, the writer's orthodox faith is part of the story here and
Matt Horowitz
I had gotten this book (and #2) when a very old copy was being thrown out at the temple library I worked at and it promptly sat on my shelf for two or three years. I can't finish one book without immediately starting another (even if it's only the first couple of pages) and I found myself (late) one night with a finished book and no idea what to read next. So I picked this up and ended up reading almost half of it before going to bed.
The next day and despite working at a bookstore I drove around
Tasha Turner
One of her better books. Trying to describe orthodox Jewish concepts to non-Jews is always hard. Ms Kellerman does fairly well with this book.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Ritual Bath is usually categorized as a mystery novel (it even won a prestigious award in this field, the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel in 1987), but is rather a contemporary romance novel in a whodunit environment. (And I am telling so without ever reading a so called main stream 'romance' work of any kind...)

On her way home from a ritual bathhouse ('mikvah') a young woman is brutally raped in a small, strict Orthodox Jew community, near Los Angeles. One of her friends, recent
My first Faye Kellerman read, another author recommended to me. I've read several of her husband's - Jonathan Kellerman - books and decided it was time to try her's.

This is the first book in the Peter Decker detective series by Faye Kellerman. Definitely enjoyed it and will read the others as I find them. I liked that she added a little about the Jewish traditions of a yeshiva. I enjoy learning about other religions and cultures. Was a mover and kept my interest. I pictured David Caruso as Deck
Krisi Keley
Closer to a 3.5, but a difficult one for me to rate as far as "enjoyment" because of some of the subject matter - reading about rape and extreme prejudice is difficult to "enjoy" as such. An interesting crime mystery with well-developed characters though, and I did really enjoy learning more about Torah Judaism and other varying Orthodox Jewish views and traditions. I also thought the author did an excellent job of portraying some of the difficulties of trying to live one's faith in a culture th ...more
Who doesn’t like a mysterious crime? Especially one filled with intrigue, suspense and served up with a little romance on the side. That is what “The Ritual Bath” by Faye Kellerman has to offer. This is the first book of the Decker/Lazarus series. The story takes place in a yeshiva community in the California hills in Los Angeles. The people of this small, remote community keep to themselves; however their peace is disturbed by a violent rape. Detective Decker is sent to solve this case. While d ...more
This book had a lot of promise in the beginning and I felt connected, drawn to, and cared about the main characters. One of the reasons I'm feeling much disappointment and sadness is because the author was adept at getting me at least emotionally involved with her characters. I was also excited about reading this book for personal reasons. The novel explores and does a good job of explaining many unknowns about one of the many types of Judaism. The author did this in an interesting and engaging ...more
This is the first book in the Peter Decler/Rina Lazarus series and I found it very interesting. In was a great introduction to the Orthodox Jewish lifestyles. The author is very good in grasping the reader's attention and keeping one involved with the storyline. Each chapter flows into the next. The characters felt real, the plot was believable and it was written in such a way that it made it difficult to put down. I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Non so....forse le mie aspettative erano troppo alte, ma ho trovato la storia troppo troppo tirata per i capelli, e poi lenta da morire......
i dialoghi senza mai una fine...... e dire che di infinite possibilità ve ne erano a bizzeffe...
L'idea di ricavare un mistery nell'ambiente dell'ortodossia ebraica è già un inizio strepitoso...peccato vedere una trama così scialba e farraginosa....
il finale veramente triste senza un minimo di plot twist finale...Peccato!!
I'm very torn about how to rate and review The Ritual Bath. What usually pushes me to rate a book is how well it is written.

In that respect, I will go with 4-stars, because this book is very well written. What I find unusual is the amount of Orthodox Jewish life represented in what I thought would be a mainstream book. To someone unfamiliar with Orthodox Judaism, that may be a huge turn off.

A portion of the story hit me on a personal level, in an irritating way - that included an "all too conven
Having started reading the Peter Decker series at book 5, I was really interested to make my way back to book one and find out how it all began. Although quite short by comparison to the further titles in the series, this is a great book. It really sets the scene for what it ultimately a love story between the cynical homicide detective (Peter) and the sweet (much younger) Jewish widow (Rina). Yet it is also a gripping page turner, as Rina is stalked by a crazed rapist, who is terrorising the sm ...more
Jennifer Shanahan
This book was really interesting because one of the main characters is a very religious Jewish woman as is one of the victims of crime. How the two main characters meet and get to know each other is a great story as well them solving the crime they are involved in. Looking forward to the second one!
Unfortunately i was not able to finish this book. It wasn't because the book was badly written, or that the plot was bad. It was because Rina is an extremely religious woman who indoctrinates her children. Having been subjected to religious indoctrination myself, especially in religious (indoctrination) school it brought back to many bad memories. I would not recommend this book to people who were also subjected to religious indoctrination. Other than that it is a good book and i woud recommend ...more
This is the first book in a mystery series starring LAPD Detective Peter Decker and his romantic interest, Orthodox Jewish widow Rina Lazarus. I absolutely loved this book. Peter and Rina are both well developed, as is the description of life in a yeshiva. The plot (involving rape and murder in a place where Rina and other women feel most safe) is disturbing, but the chemistry between Peter and Rina is light and natural in the most dark and unnatural of circumstances. Highly recommended, and I'm ...more
Clay Stafford
From 1986, this book started the Faye Kellerman phenomenon. Taking place at a remote, sheltered yeshiva (Jewish educational institution) community in the Hollywood Hills area of California (Jewtown as the police call it), a young bride-to-be leaving the ritual bath (the mikva) is brutally raped. Hard-boiled detective Peter Decker of the LAPD (a Jew by birth, but a Baptist by adoptive parents) arrives to find a community of noncooperative witnesses focused more on Jewish religious law than catchi ...more
I had purchased the audio book during a random 'special sale' but despite the blurb sounding interesting enough it has still taken me 6 months to get around to listening. What a waste, I could have been through more of the series if I had got stuck into the first book earlier.

Firstly, I don't think I would have enjoyed this even half as much if it hadn't been audio. There is a LOT of jewish words which I would have skipped over in written form and the narrator had brilliant incantonation (hmm, n
Carla Patterson
I read a couple of the later books in the series and found them hit or miss depending on the combination of the story and the setting but this first book is one of my favorites so far. The characters are satisfying for various reasons - not just the main two but, also, the detectives Peter works with, Rina's rabbi, various rabbinical students, and the two main characters' various children. I think what I need to do is to follow on with the series in chronological order and see if that makes my e ...more
Andrea Stoeckel
A bit predictable (I knew part of the ending in a few pages) but a great story set in an incredible place. Why would someone attack women at a yeshiva? And will they do it again?

Peter Decker "catches" the case, and falls for the mikvah (ritual bath)helper. Not only must they figure out who and why but how come they are attracted to one another, impossible as it may seem.

This is a good mystery and fascinating setting. Will look for others in the series
Ginger Price
The. Beginning

I've read other Faye Kellerman novels, but never started this series, so decided to start at the beginning & get to know Detective Peter Decker and his co-workers Marge Dunn & Michael Hollander of the LAPD. Rena Lazarus, a 26 yr old widow with 2 small boys live in Yeshivat Ohavei Torah, a Jewish school for boys. A rape has occurred on the property to Rina's best friend. Decker has been investigating other rapes in the Foothills. Is it the same rapist or someone on the insi
I love this series. There are at least 10 to 12 books in the series. You can read the series out of sequence, but then you do not get to enjoy parts of the books that depict the domestic side of Detective Decker and his lovely wife and family. They are Orthodox Jews but that is only a slight and interesting sideline to the books. All of the characters are real and enjoyable.
Good read! Only problem I had was all the Hebrew words. Would have liked a glossary instead of having to search Google or Wikipedia via my Nook app. For a book written in the eighties, it is surprising current...minus the "ghetto blaster" references and a few other iconic elements. Definitely someone I would read agian. Definitely a series I would continue with.
A bit too much profanity, and the Jewish expressions were italicized but there was no glossary which was annoying. The story wound along beautifully until the end when it finished awfully quickly. (Maybe I was just too tired.) Looking forward to reading more in this series.
This was another bookclub selection. I think my sister described it best when she said she could picture it as a made for tv movie. If you are into mysteries that are a quick read, you would enjoy this book.
Interesting book about a murder investigation involving a relatively closed community. I knew nothing about Jewish women's ritual baths, but since the author is something of an expert on them, I'm assuming that most of what is written is accurate. The book also illustrates some of the difficulties of outsiders trying to piece together motive and opportunity when dealing with a community they are unfamiliar with. Faye Kellerman's writing is much more graphic than her husband Jonathan Kellerman's ...more
Not quite the same as those crime novels that I have read. I like that the author included a lot of details on the personal life of the victims and the detectives. It added a tad of humanity into the cruelty and bloodiness in a crime story. I totally loved the chemistry between Rina and Peter, but I would be happier if Peter was described as better looking or muscular instead of a redhead undergoing a midlife crisis.

The story was okay. The killings were not very brutal and bloody. An easy read.
I bought this book on a Nook special, and I'm glad I did. It's the first in a very long series of detective novels with a definite Jewish theme. This book was written in the mid-1980s, and I giggled at what is now considered "old school" technology. The giggles aside, I enjoyed the plot. Until the end, Kellerman kept me guessing who the rapist and murderer was. There was also a romantic subplot that was fraught with religious prohibitions and impossibility. With my extremely busy schedule, I rea ...more
Puty P
If this book wasn't a gift from a friend, I might have never read it because I'm not a fan of thriller plus the cover and title suggesting that the murder's plot was set in a gloomy cult's ritual. Fortunately it's not that bad and it told a lot about life as a part of Orthodox Jewish community. It told a lot about rituals, phrases, sayings like 'Baruch Hashem'. As a practicing Moslem, I could relate to a lot of things like hair covering for women or other rituals. I found them very interesting a ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman 1 6 Mar 30, 2015 02:06PM  
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Faye Kellerman was born in St. Louis, Missouri and grew up in Sherman Oaks, California. She earned a BA in mathematics and a doctorate in dentistry at UCLA., and conducted research in oral biology. Kellerman's groundbreaking first novel, THE RITUAL BATH, was published in 1986 to wide critical and commercial acclaim. The winner of the Macavity Award for the Best First Novel from the Mystery Readers ...more
More about Faye Kellerman...

Other Books in the Series

Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus (1 - 10 of 23 books)
  • Sacred and Profane (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #2)
  • Milk and Honey (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #3)
  • Day of Atonement (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #4)
  • False Prophet (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #5)
  • Grievous Sin (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #6)
  • Sanctuary (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #7)
  • Justice (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #8)
  • Prayers for the Dead (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #9)
  • Serpent's Tooth (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #10)
  • Jupiter's Bones (Peter Decker Rina Lazarus, #11)
Milk and Honey (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #3) Hangman (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #19) Sanctuary (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #7) Sacred and Profane (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #2) Day of Atonement (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #4)

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“True, my boy. Only Hashem is omniscient, and until He decides we’re worthy of His communication via prophets or the Messiah, we mortals are forced to live in a state of ignorance. I’ve spent my whole life learning, Detective, acquiring knowledge not only from the scriptures of my belief, but from countless other sources—American law, philosophy, psychology, economics, political science: I have studied them all at great length. Yet, a madman can slip under my nose, and I realize I know nothing. I am still a meaningless speck of dust in the scheme of things. A most humbling experience.” 0 likes
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